In the past Mayoral Election, 40% of Los Santos voters made the choice at the ballot box to vote for an Independent candidate for an Independent Los Santos. With the introduction of LIne-Voting, every single one of those voters are told a simple message. You directly threatened the establishment.
The line-voting system is common in European countries where there is often more than two parties that have a variety of different views, people vote for their unique party for their unique viewpoints and the proportional representation works very well especially in elected bodies comprised of over 40 seats.
Parties choose a line of candidates within their political sphere that represents their values:
1. John Smith
2. Jane Doe
3. Jenny Diver
These candidates usually have a uniform or similar political ideology so when the voter votes for party name and they only get perhaps John or Jane elected and not Jenny since they only got 2/3rds of the votes, they can rely comfortably on the fact that John and Jane's views are likely similar to Jenny's.
Independents however are not a uniform political party. In fact, Independent candidates may differ greatly on issues ranging from gay rights all the way to gun rights. This is why if the State's decision is to lump all Independent candidates into a single voting line they are doing something incredibly dangerous and undemocratic. It puts Independent candidates in a position where they are forced to siphon votes away from major political parties rather than being able to be endorsed by them on a district level. It would force Independents to align with other independents and form a de-facto political party that does not exist much to the detriment of confused voters.
Ultimately, with the advent of Line-voting, third parties have become a tactic by the state to disenfranchise voters from the system, to chip away at the Republican and Democratic voting base, rather than to offer a nuanced alternative to the party system. The government's solution to a corrupt mayoral election was indeed to punish the very style of Independent run that managed to take 40 percent of the electorate legally and without bribing community leaders.
The real tragedy isn't just the disenfranchisement of politicians, it's the negligence towards voters in districts who need our attention the most.
One of the major shifts this election cycle is the breaking up of the district system. Elected officials no longer need to look to their own communities, examine the unique issues facing them, and create engaging action plans for dismantling them while also hosting local district-wide events. Now all they need to do is find the neighborhood with the largest number of voters (West District) and tailor their messaging solely to them.
Because candidates are not vying for individual districts, it gives them the ability to ignore communities in need throughout Blaine County and the Southside who traditionally don't vote with the same frequency as their counterparts in the West, East and sometimes Central.
This is a major problem for the most neglected communities. No longer do they have the odd chance to have light shed on their issues. And issues that are complex, such as housing are going to be viewed through one lens rather than the five lenses they need. For example the Housing crisis is hitting all of Los Santos and Blaine, but it hits various communities differently. Whereas Blaine County has an issue with a lack of physical property to accommodate it's residents, the Southside might just need the properties to be IDed and converted into public housing. These issues have a different fingerprint for each district, and without district based voting all the nuance is gone and politicians can sit neatly on a pack of 'strongly worded' statements showing their unequivocal support for "the right to shelter" without needing to get into the messy business of actually addressing the specific needs of neglected districts.
The government's solution to district-based needs was, of course, to eliminate the district representation system rather than to actually eliminate their individual problems. Classic.
The Bottom Line
I want you to vote this election cycle, like all others. Our democracy depends on your participation.
What I ask you to do above all else is to be aware of how changes like this actively harm our democratic institutions and disenfranchise candidates with bold new ideas who may not be comfortable with the two party system and dynamic. Your choices this election cycle matter, but recognize what choices have been made for you.
Ask your candidates this election cycle about whether they support line-voting or whether they support a democracy that truly allows candidates to run without a party imposed on them by force.